Ok, so I'm like 2/3 through this thread, but it seems to me that the best solution thrown out so far is actually to decrease the size of the A division.
I wonder if you threw together a distribution of players that make A finals compared to their qualifying position at the end of day 1, if it would show some interesting probabilities of someone who finishes day 1 seeded maybe 100+ in A division actually making the finals. If that were the case, why not cap A at the top 100 or 120?
I think this addresses the problem because there's really only a certain chunk of folks who even have the incentive to sandbag and I think it's primarily those that are on/near the A/B split. The thought process I hear over and over again is that if you're coming into day 2 at the bottom of A, you feel it's almost impossible to make finals so why not sandbag and give yourself a shot at one of the other divisions.
With this pretty easy reformulation, you remove the incentive to sandbag from those that currently have it and not much else changes. In fact, if you think down the line, the other consequences of this decision might make a lot of sense too.
A couple I can think of:
- The spread between B, C, and D becomes more well defined.
- It becomes a little tougher to qualify for finals in the lower divisions because there are more people, further disincentivizing sandbagging out of A.
- You could even pay out some sort of small prize for anyone who qualifies for A. Maybe that free entry to Replay FX the following year like I mentioned earlier.
- Making it into A division is a real accomplishment, not just "oh I tied with 50 other people to squeak into the bottom and now I don't have a shot."